Officials urge people to register to vote in Nov.

Published 5:00 am Friday, August 15, 2008

After a lengthy battle in the Democratic primary race earlierthis year that made Mississippi’s March primaries matter for thefirst time in years, Lincoln County Circuit Clerk Terry LynnWatkins is expecting a sizeable turnout for the Nov. 4 generalelection.

“I definitely think we will see a big voter turnout, and I thinkthere will be more to register [to vote],” she said. “Thepresidential election always brings out a lot of voters.”

Watkins said many new residents and new adults have visited heroffice to register over the last few weeks, and she encourages -even pleads with – those who are not registered to do so.

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The deadline to register to vote is Friday, Oct. 3 – a month anda day before the general election.

Watkins pointed out that registering to vote is free andrequires only two minutes and a photo ID. People must be to 18 tovote, but 17-year-olds may register if their birthday occurs byNov. 4.

Residents who have relocated to or within the county within thelast five years also need to come by Watkins’ office to make suretheir information is correct.

The circuit clerk’s office is located on the second floor of theLincoln County-Brookhaven Government Complex in room 205.

Besides the fact that voting is a constitutional right, anotherreason residents should register and vote in the upcoming generalelection is to make the most of the county’s investment. Watkinssaid the county spends a large amount of money – paying pollworkers and ordering voting materials – on each election.

“Elections are expensive,” she said. “We pay the same thing foran election if we have 10 people to vote or 10,000.”

Watkins is hoping that the many posts up for grabs on the ballotwill cause voter turnout to increase over the disappointing 30percent showing recorded by slightly more than 7,000 of thecounty’s approximately 25,000 voters in March.

Positions to be voted on in November include president, two U.S.Senate seats, 3rd District representative, a state Supreme Courtpost, two Lincoln County School Board seats and all five members ofthe county’s election commission.

Voters will elect two new members to the county school board toreplace outgoing members Joann Holmes and Lincoln County SheriffSteve Rushing, and the entire county election commission will beselected.

Watkins said three petitions bearing the required 50 supportingsignatures have been turned into her office for the school boardseats, and two have been returned for the election commission.Several other people, including all the serving electioncommissioners, have picked up petition forms and not yet returnedthem.

Those running for the school board positions thus farinclude:

* Jack Case, of 1855 Arlington Drive Southwest, Bogue Chitto

* Darron Wallace, of 1941 Hurricane Lake Drive Southwest,Brookhaven.

* Denise Roberts White, of 1186 West Lincoln Drive Southwest,Brookhaven.

All three are running for the seat currently held byRushing.

Those running for the county election commission thus farinclude:

* John Bennon Case, of 410 Whitworth Ave., Brookhaven.

* Gloria Brown, of 2895 Lee Drive Southeast, Bogue Chitto.

Both are running in District Three, where Case is theincumbent.

The deadline for submitting petitions to run for office isFriday, Sept. 5.